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Legal immigration to Bulgaria – visa, residence permit and citizenship

Assistance to obtain Bulgarian visa & residence permit

Mrs Catherine Georgieva - lawyer at Posolstvo.eu
Mrs Catherine Georgieva – lawyer at Posolstvo.eu

Posolstvo.eu is leading administrative and advisory services provider with headquarters in Sofia, Bulgaria. We are assisting foreign nationals to legally immigrate, relocate and start their business in Bulgaria and the EU. We are also providing support to foreign students in Bulgarian as well as to foreign employees. Immigration to Bulgaria is not an easy thing, but with our support, things happen fast and easy.

Employment in Bulgaria

Unfortunately, in the age of bureaucracy, relocation to an EU country is not an easy procedure. Immigration has become a cumbersome process, to put it mildly. Employment in an EU country (such as Bulgaria) requires work permit if the employee is non-EU citizen. After the sharp rise in the wages in Bulgaria, as result of the shortage of work force, finding an employer is easy. Obtaining work permit however is becoming more and more difficult.

Marriage with Bulgarian citizen

Many non-EU nationals marry Bulgarian citizens. As result, they are eligible to obtain visa D and residence permit so they can live in Bulgaria and the EU. Unfortunately, the amount of rejected applications for visa D is rising every day. The main reason of course is the constantly increasing number of sham marriages with the sole purpose of obtaining Bulgarian residence permits. The other reason is that the genuine applicants are not able to prepare the required documents and submit the application properly. This also results in rejection to issue visa D and the foreigner is denied entry to Bulgaria.

Performing non-profit activities in Bulgaria

The Bulgarian legislation foresees that non-EU nationals who want to perform non profit activities in Bulgaria, may obtain long term residence permit. For this purpose, the applicant must obtain special permit from the Ministry of Justice. We are assisting those candidates to beat the red tape and obtain all required permissions so they can get residence in Bulgaria.

Retiring in Bulgaria

Non-EU nationals, who are pensioners in their countries (or elsewhere), are also eligible for Bulgarian visa D and residence permit. The procedure is especially cumbersome as the applicant has to prove his pension qualifies under the Bulgarian law. Many countries (ie USA) have different pension systems than Bulgaria. Therefore, the “pensions” from these countries are not accepted by the Bulgarian authorities for the purpose of immigration. With our support however, these irregularities are likely to be solved.

Other grounds to settle in Bulgaria legally

There are also other legal grounds to obtain Bulgarian visa D and residence permit. You can read more in our immigration services section.

Assistance to obtain Bulgarian citizenship

The Bulgarian passport has become one of the strongest and best passports in the world. And the demand for Bulgarian citizenship skyrocketed in the last 5-6 years. At the same time, the authorities in Bulgaria are very conservative when it comes to approving applications for naturalization.

Bulgarian citizenship – probably the most desired in the EU

Citizenship by origin

We provide highly professional services to those who want to obtain Bulgarian citizenship. We emphasize on the assistance to obtain Bulgarian citizenship by origin, as the most sustainable and socially responsible option for naturalization. There are of course other options to become Bulgarian, such as citizenship for special merits, citizenship by investment (through the Golden Visa route), etc.


Bulgarian-citizenship.org LOGO

We have teamed up and created the specialized project Bulgarian-citizenship.org through which we provide specialized exclusive citizenship services and assistance to selected customers.

Our latest posts on how to obtain Bulgarian citizenship by origin

Our experience in immigration law and our reputation

Experience, professionalism and reputation are extremely important in the immigration field. Without good relations with the government, our clients would be in much worse position than they are now.

High success rate and ultimate legal compliance

We believe to be the only company in Bulgaria, capable of arranging 100% flawless procedures. And logically, this results in close to 100% success rate of all cases! And this is what matters most.

There are many who believe that they can handle the immigration formalities on their own. Unfortunately, in most cases this proves to be wrong. Applications get rejected across the board and this often causes frustration. And this is often the result of poor and unprofessional processing and submission, rather than because the applicant is ineligible. Legal conformity is our team’s utmost priority and we will never compromise our client’s interests.

Good relations with the authorities

We are well known in virtually all governmental institutions in Bulgaria. Our reputation helps us and our clients to have our applications processed swiftly and successfully.

What is even more important is that the authorities know very well that any (unlawful) rejection of our client’s application will result in immediate court appeal. And as these appeals are handled by our best lawyers, the results are easy to be predicted. Knowing that, the authorities often prefer to save themselves the humiliation in court and the extra expenditure of budget funds. All that, to our clients’ benefit.

We provide daily consultations, both in our offices in Sofia and online. We consult mainly foreigners who are currently in Bulgaria and are struggling to arrange their immigration formalities. To those who are still abroad, we also provide life-changing support so they can obtain immigration visa D, legal residency and eventually – Bulgarian citizenship.

FAQ about visa & residency in Bulgaria

What is the difference between a tourist visa and an immigration visa?

Tourist visa (type C) is granted to those who intend on staying short-term in Bulgaria for tourist purposes (or other reasons, requiring short stay in the country).
Immigration visa (type D, as per art.15 from the “Law for the Foreigners”) is granted to those who have reasons to obtain long term or permanent residence in Bulgaria.

Can I work in Bulgaria with tourist visa?

No, you are not allowed to work with tourist visa in Bulgaria. There are severe penalties, in case the authorities find out that a foreigner is working illegally in the country.

Can I work in Bulgaria with immigration visa?

The short answer is: “it depends”. In reality however, you must first “transform” your visa to “residence permit” first. This process is not always a straightforward. Then, your working rights in Bulgaria will depend entirely on the grounds on which your residence permit has been issued. In some cases, as if you are married to Bulgarian citizen, you will be allowed to work without obtaining additional work permit. In other instances however, you will have no working rights in Bulgaria.

I have heard that if I marry Bulgarian national, I will be able to get Bulgarian passport really fast (or even immediately). Is this true?

No, unfortunately (for you in this case), marrying with Bulgarian citizen will only provide you the opportunity to obtain long-term residence permit in the country. Depending on whether you and your partner (will) have children may eventually speed up your naturalization significantly. You can read more about Bulgarian citizenship at Bulgarian citizenship by naturalization.

Bulgaria – much more than an access point to the EU

Alexander Dobrinov in Kiev
Alexander Dobrinov lecturing about the “Bulgarian State Citizenship Program” and how to legally obtain EU passport, at the Hyatt Regency in Kiev.

Better life than in most other countries in the world

Why is Bulgaria so popular among foreigners? Why is the immigration to Bulgaria so desired by so many people today? UK investors are relocating to Bulgaria and buying residential properties. Pakistani citizens are seeking better life in Europe and pick Bulgaria. Chinese businesses are opening and more branches in the country. Russian entrepreneurs are expanding their businesses and making sustainable investments.

All this is happening, because Bulgaria has a lot to offer. Bulgaria offers everyone its beauty, political and legal stability, rising economy and full access to the whole market of the European Union. Bulgaria offers freedom of movement and free travel.

Hristo Vasilev on Bloomberg
Our lawyer Hristo Vasilev explaining the particularities of the Bulgarian citizenship and passport, on Bloomberg TV.

Some basic information about the advantages of being resident or citizen of Bulgaria

EU and NATO member

Bulgaria is the new land of opportunities in Europe, many respectable analysts say. As a NATO member since 2004, and a full EU member since 2007, Bulgaria is by international standards considered financially and politically stable. Bulgaria ranks 38th in the World Banks Ease-of-Doing-Business index climbing 14th places for one year from 52nd in 2014, higher than all other Eastern European countries members of the EU. Bulgaria also places 28th on the Economic Freedom of the World index, outperforming the Netherlands and South Korea.

Lowest taxation in the EU

Bulgaria boasts the lowest corporate and personal income tax rates among all European Union member states. The corporate tax is fixed at 10% flat rate. The personal income tax is only 10% regardless of the amount one earns. The health and pension contributions are among the lowest within the whole European Union. Bulgaria has Double Taxation Treaties with 68 countries all over the world. The banking system in Bulgaria is modern and fiscally sound. The government guarantees 100% of all deposits up to EUR 100 000. Credit interest rates are low. Some of the biggest EU banks are represented in Bulgaria.

Highly developed tourism industry

The tourism sector is developing extremely well, accounting for nearly 22% of the country’s total GDP. More than 9 million tourists from Greece, Romania, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom visit Bulgaria each year. Forecasts estimate that the number of tourists visiting Bulgaria will further increase in the next years.

Religiously tolerant

Bulgaria is very religiously tolerant. Many Muslims are living in the country, while the majority of its population is Christian Orthodox. Bulgarians, unlike many other nationalities, have been living peacefully with their Muslim neighbors for centuries. They have been respecting not only their religion, but also their cultural differences. As an interesting fact, the Banya Bashi Mosque in Sofia, built by the architect and civil engineer Mimar Sinan is one of the largest mosques of its kind in the area. The mosque is visited daily by the Muslim community in Sofia and can accommodate more than 1200 prayers.

Bright economic future

Forecasts indicate that the Bulgarian economy will continue to perform well in the immediate future. Consequently, Bulgaria’s improving economy will also continue to attract foreign investors and immigrants. Many of them will consider starting a business in Bulgaria and applying for Bulgarian residence permit and for citizenship consequentially.

The bond between Bulgaria and the EU

So how are Bulgaria and the European Union as a whole interacting together? Immigration to Bulgaria is also immigration to the EU as a whole. The EU in its core is an Union without borders and with ultimate freedom of movement and settlement.

In today’s world, greater mobility brings with it opportunities and challenges. A balanced, comprehensive and common migration policy is helping the EU to seize these opportunities while tackling the challenges head-on. The EU is built upon solidarity and responsibility. It will have the added advantage of making a valuable contribution to the EU’s economic development and performance in the long term.

The Single Permit Directive

In December 2011, the the EU adopted the Single Permit Directive. It creates a set of rights for non-EU workers legally residing in an EU State. At the same time, EU is discussing Commission proposals for further Directives on the conditions of entry and residence for seasonal workers and intra-corporate transferees. The aim is to simplify migration procedures and give migrants clear employment-related rights. Furthermore, the Long-Term Residence Directive has created a single status for non-EU nationals who have been lawfully resident in an EU country for certain period of time. Thus it is establishing a legal basis for equal treatment of the foreigner in all EU countries. The same policy will apply to all non-EU citizens, whether they are from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Russia or China. They all will have equal opportunities. Immigration to Bulgaria has became a true immigration to the EU.